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Toronto, Aug 11 (Canadian-Media): Canada's Environment and Climate Change Minister, Catherine McKenna visited last week Inuit-operated national park in in northern coastal Labrador to study the life of Inuit people and about climate change there, media reports said.
Inuit were indigenous people who reportedly lived in Northern coast Labrador -- a large area of mainland Canada, separated from Newfoundland, an island in the Atlantic Ocean by the Strait of Belle Isle -- soon adapted themselves to the arctic and sub-arctic conditions of the Labrador region, CBCNews reports said. .
Together Newfoundland and Labrador reportedly form the most easterly province in Canada.
The coastal areas of Labrador had reportedly abundance of whales, seals, fish, caribou and large forests and McKenna said she had a chance to watch the Inuit hunt seals.
During her visit to the Torngat Mountains -- ancestral home of the Labrador Inuit and managed by Inuit staff -- she was accompanied by Natan Obed, the president of the national Inuit organization, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, a nonprofit organization in Canada that works to improve the health and wellbeing of the Inuit people through research and education.
Torngat Mountains. Image credit: pc.gc.ca
"He was able to tell me really about the Inuit experience in the park, so I could learn a lot more about our history — which is a lot longer than 150 years, that's for sure — and really understand the Inuit connection with the land," McKenna said, the news reports said.
McKenna said in her tweets that she also had an opportunity to meet with scientists & Inuit elders at Torngat Mountains to learn about Parks Canada Science.
In the middle of the trek to the top of the Torngat Mountains right at basecamp, McKenna said that the bear guard spotted a black bear and was thankful to the guard for protecting her from the bear.
McKenna said she was also able to see firsthand the effects of climate change in the north.
During an exclusive interview with scientist Darroch Whitaker about her tour reportedly conducted near Labrador's Torngat Mountains Base Camp and Research station -- a remote site in the far reaches of Labrador and is the gateway to Torngat Mountains National Park and Hebron National Historic Site -- she said that she had come there mainly for two reasons, first to study the life of people living there as part of reconciliation and the second to study the effect of climate change.
She had begun to contemplate, said McKenna, how she would link Indigenous Peoples with Environment and Climate Change Canada scientists to our park ecologists and biologists to advance our knowledge of the effects of climate change.
She said Canada’s Arctic, abode of Inuit people, was very vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.
"We see it [across the country] in floods. We now have forest fires, we have droughts. But in the arctic, that's the canary in the coal mine."
"They are already seeing double the warming. That's having a real impact in very tangible ways," news reports quoted her saying.
Inuit people in the Park were focused on what’s happening in parks on a micro level, said McKenna, whereas Environment and Climate Change Canada scientists were studying this on a large scale
McKenna said much could be achieved by engaging the local community in monitoring.
She hoped to apply, said McKenna, the lessons she learned from visiting the park to her work with the environment.
She was amazed, she said, by the stunning beauty of Torngat Mountains, the National park, its biodiversity, the animals, people living here, with a long history, and contemplated how she would best narrate the story of the park on her return to Ottawa.
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)